Immigration Protesters|to Be Sentenced Today

     TUCSON (CN) – Activists who chained themselves to a federal courthouse entrance to shut down fast-track immigration hearings last year will be sentenced Thursday afternoon.
     Wendy Bedoya, Sandra Garnica, Katerina O. Sinclair, Walter E. Staton, Ryan Tombleson and Rachel L. Winch chained themselves to each other and to a fence around the Evo A. DeConcini U.S. Courthouse in downtown Tucson in October 2013 as part of a protest of Operation Streamline.
     Since 2005 Operation Streamline has subjected undocumented immigrants to federal criminal prosecution, jail time and deportation. The fast-track program, which often features large groups of defendants pleading guilty together, has increased caseloads in many district courts and led to thousands of criminal prosecutions.
     In October, Magistrate Judge Leslie A. Bowman found the defendants guilty of disorderly conduct on federal property and failure to follow direction of a federal police officer.
     “Although the evidence showed that the defendants were not noisy or threatening, their conduct was disorderly and in violation of the law because they unreasonably obstructed the usual use of the federal court parking lot,” Judge Bowman wrote in her ruling. “They disrupted the orderly proceedings of the federal courthouse by denying access to judicial officers and other court employees to the employee parking lot.”
     The defendants face fines and possible jail time.

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